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ADHD Drugs Made Children Suicidal: Report

October 22nd 2009

At least 30 Australian children have attempted suicide or are have experienced severe depression while on various medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
By Anelise Quemerais

At least 30 Australian children have attempted suicide or are have experienced severe depression while on various medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a report published in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

Serious reactions to ADHD drugs among children have doubled in the last three years, according to the newspaper, which used data from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia’s regulatory agency for medical drugs.

"There's clear evidence that stimulant drugs tend to cause or precipitate psychotic episodes in children," said Dr. Jon Juriedini of Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, according to News.com.

But Dr. Juriedini warned that it is difficult to determine of the medication alone caused the children to become suicidal or if other factors were involved.

In one case cited by the report, a seven-year-old boy tried to commit suicide while on the drug Ritalin. Another boy, an eight-year-old hallucinated that he saw spiders crawling on his skin after taking an ADHD drug, according to the report.

Some child experts criticize the use of heavy stimulants for children. Some drugs, they argue, mask children’s psychological problems.

A spokesman for the Therapeutic Goods Administration said the Daily Telegraph’s conclusions were taken out of proportion and misused raw data, according to Pharmacy News.

ADHD affects between eight and 12 percent of children worldwide.